Petro Environmental Services Company (PESCo) – an international joint venture company established in January 2003 – has become one of the leading companies in environmental protection and marine support. PESCo has a global presence, through its national and international partnerships with world leaders. With centers positioned throughout the Egyptian coastlines, they are able to provide swift response around the clock. Engineer Ashraf Thabet talked to Egypt Oil and Gas Newspaper about the company’s ambitions and current activities.
- Why was PESCO founded?
PESCo was formed to provide a dedicated Egyptian company capable of pollution prevention, protection and response to an internationally accepted level. Ratified international conventions and legislation in Egypt requires all ports, harbors and offshore installation to have emergency plans and resources available to combat marine pollution. PESCo operating in Egypt increases the national capabilities reducing reliance on international assistance whilst at the same time establishing a network of response for the protection of the Egyptian marine environment that is on call 24 hours per day 7 days per week.
National, international and multi-national companies operating in Egypt have a dedicated Egyptian company operating to international standards to cover all requirements of prevention, preparedness and response.
- What were your major achievements in 2006 and what are you aspiring to achieve in 2007?
Major achievements during 2006 saw the firm establishment of PESCo’s extensive network of partnerships and affiliations from Egyptian and regional government and industry companies, organizations and agencies. Moreover, PESCo continued to expand operational capability throughout the Region.
- Can you tell us more about the four national Oil Spill Response Centers in Egypt that you operate and manage? Have they ever been called in for an emergency, if yes when? If no, if they were ever needed what would be the situation and how would it be treated?
The five oil pollution response centers in Egypt operate as an integrated network managed through a dedicated 24-hour Pollution Incident Centre “PIC” located in Cairo. EGPC centers are strategically located in Alexandria, Suez, Ras Gharib and Hurghada for the protection of the oil and gas sector companies. The fifth centre is located in Sharm El-Sheikh and is owned by EEAA for the protection of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gulf of Aqaba. PESCo manages the centers to international standards. The harmonization of centre management provides a catalyst for unified command.
The staffing of the center includes personnel from various backgrounds; Captains, Engineers, Chemists, Geologists, Mariners and Mechanics.
The centers have successfully responded to several incidents of different magnitudes during the past three years, some of which would have required international assistance should PESCo not exist.
- What were the motivating factors behind the creation of OSRAM?
OSRAM was created to promote awareness and cooperation throughout Mediterranean region. OSRAM is achieving this by:
- Requesting support from developed countries combined with capacity-building in lesser developed countries,
- Accepting that unequal levels of capacity within a region is not a handicap,
- Assuming a collective responsibility to address the challenge,
- Developing a clear and common vision of the region and its priorities, which will be developed on the basis of a shared concept.
- Can you tell us of the most interesting offshore support procedure you undertook and what were your achievements in the situation? I understand that client confidentiality is of extreme importance to you so you do not have to mention any company names if you wish not to.
Every incident or offshore support operation is interesting to us. We tailor the support or response package according to the circumstances and nature of each incident or operation. Our team of experts and command staff develop dynamic plans for each operation.
- As a leading advocate of environmental preservation what would you suggest to all oil and gas companies in the global endeavor to secure a cleaner, healthier environment for the future?
In today’s climate of ever increasing demands on the world’s oil and gas reserves and the urgency to meet such demands, we must all remain vigilant and focused on our collective efforts to safeguard the environment for future generations.
A global endeavor must focus on each region, the countries within each region together with the governments and industry in each country. This is especially prevalent in the Mediterranean region, as one of the main transit areas in the world. Oil and gas companies cannot do it alone and should not be expected to do so, therefore we all need to continue to:
- Promote regional cooperation within the oil and gas industry and between governments and the oil and gas industry on an international, national and regional basis by continually cooperating on all issues of environmental protection to secure a cleaner, healthier environment.
- Enhance awareness by actively participating in regional forums for information exchange and discussion on environmental matters and facilitating provision of available resources, equipment and expertise for education and training purposes.
- Have you conducted any environmental impact assessments in Egypt?
PESCo does not conduct Environmental Impact Assessments. This is for an obvious reason. EIA’s should identify the risks associated with the project/activity then present the mitigation factors to be implemented; this is where PESCo’s role comes. This is very similar to the process of legislation and law enforcement; can they be both undertaken by the same body? Transparency and technical integrity are core values of PESCo. However, we conduct Risk Reduction Reviews and prepare Contingency Plans. We started these activities recently and have achieved a remarkable success in that arena. Major oil and gas operators are currently relying on us for the development of their contingency plans. Our consultancy services have been audited by leading multinational oil and gas operators on a corporate scale and have been accepted for compliance with international standards.
- What necessitates the presence of your training centers in Egypt?
Seasoned manpower is the backbone of any response system therefore our training centers are of a paramount importance to maintain the integrity of the national response system of Egypt.
Those responsible for the response to and management of incidents are required by law to train their response personnel. This is reflected through the OPRC 90 requirements which are transposed to the Egyptian Environmental Law (4/94) and the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan of Egypt. PESCo has developed a team of training experts and professionals capable of delivering certified training courses in both English and Arabic. International Maritime Organization (IMO) model courses are conducted in conjunction with other tailor made training packages.
- How do you see the future of the Egyptian oil and gas industry?
The future of the Egyptian oil and gas is purely dependant on all those involved, from exploration, production and shipment.